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Reliable network devices provided by Huawei enabled us to set up a high-speed and reliable Ethernet network, which was extremely easy to manage and operate.

Niclas Sigholm, a well-known Swedish entrepreneur
Background

Sweden is often called the home of European eSports due to the popularity of gaming events among young people in the country. Many talented, world-class professional gamers are from Sweden. A huge step in the development of the Swedish gaming scene was made in 2018, when NorthSpawn organized its first gaming event — a 7,000-square-meter, Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) event, in which each participant brought their own computer, set it up in a pre-assigned place, and plugged into the local network.

Hosting this kind of event requires a network that can handle hundreds of computers adjusted to various computer settings. A low latency, streaming-speed Internet connection, and a disconnection-free, easily configurable network are the most important features for the network. To make the network work properly, event organizers invited Huawei to cooperate.

Business Goal: Getting geeks and IT business together

The idea of organizing a gaming event came after Niclas Sigholm, a well-known Swedish entrepreneur, realized there was a shortage of skilled IT employees in Sweden, which hindered recruiting new talent and threatened continued development. According to some IT and telecom company reports, it is predicted that by 2022 there will be a shortage of around 70,000 specialists in the industry.

At the same time, a large number of young people with high IT skills, for various reasons, fly under business’ radar. Sigholm saw an opportunity and created NorthSpawn, a gaming festival with the purpose of bringing the business community closer to a new generation of technically adept people.

“These events are not only a place of entertainment, but can also be an opportunity to get in touch with companies that are worthy of starting a career with,” says Niclas Sigholm. “We wanted to create a place where big IT companies can meet young, tech-oriented people and get real insights into their future, career plans, and expectations.”

Challenges

Quickly establishing a high-speed and reliable local network

To handle the amount of data that must be simultaneously transmitted, the organizers looked for networking equipment that could support up to one thousand concurrent players. At the same time, the network had to ensure as little latency as possible and accommodate gamers streaming to their fan base, mostly via Twitch, a live streaming video platform.

Organizers acknowledge that they were so focused on the process of planning the entire event that they underestimated the technical challenges. They looked for a partner that could help them with potential bandwidth problems, as well as one that could build an effective network in a short time. They contacted several Swedish IT companies, but many were hesitant about eSports. Huawei approached the concept directly and was positive from the beginning.

“Gaming festivals of this scale are very challenging when it comes to network requirements, and gamers are probably the most-demanding users, as they need the highest performance at all times,” says Niclas Sigholm. “We were looking for a trustworthy partner who could help us in setting up the event itself and a foundation for the future. The real challenge was to build a flawless network in a very short time.”

Solution

Implementation: Immediate deployment of massive local network

To build a network that could handle up to 1,000 gaming seats and such a big area, Huawei engineers turned to proven agile campus network solutions. They provide not only top-notch security features, (such as 802.1x authentication, Media Access Control (MAC) address authentication, combined authentication on a per-port basis, portal authentication on a per Virtual LAN Interface (VLANIF) basis, and dynamic policy delivery for users), but ones that are easy to implement and maintain. Based on NorthSpawn’s needs, ultra-high-performance S5720-LI series switches were used.

S5720-LI series switches support intelligent Stack (iStack) virtualization technology, flexible Ethernet networking, and diversified security control. The S5720-LI series switches are ideal for various scenarios, such as enterprise campus network access and gigabit to the desktop. Thanks to iStack, multiple Huawei switches were stacked into one virtual switch, which increased operational efficiency and boosted non-stop operations. iStack also simplified device configuration and management; after a stack was set up, a network administrator could log into any member switch to manage all the member switches in the stack.

“A reliable network was the backbone of the whole project,” underlines Sigholm. “Thanks to Huawei’s support and equipment, we were able to set up the network soft and fast in no time, which was crucial for the success of the entire event.”

All of Huawei’s equipment was designed to serve not only the eSports arena, but also to be used in the streaming rooms and expo area with 15 commercial exhibitors.

Benefits

Results: An unforgettable gaming experience for hundreds of gamers

As a result, the event went very smoothly and each player and guest could enjoy uninterrupted network access. Moreover, network traffic during NorthSpawn reached only one-third of the maximum network bandwidth. NorthSpawn was the third largest BYOC-LAN event in Sweden in 2018: three days long, 15 companies in the exhibition zone, 700 gamers, 6,000 visitors on site, and 10,000 total viewers online via the Twitch streaming platform.

“Reliable network devices provided by Huawei enabled us to set up a high-speed and reliable Ethernet network, which was extremely easy to manage and operate. We could simply manage the whole network from one virtual switch instead of logging in to each of them individually. Huawei devices proved to be very reliable, and we didn’t have to worry about network performance during the event. We are happy we could help Nordic businesses in reaching out to the young people, who will become a competent workforce very soon,” sums up Sigholm.

When gamers experience something extraordinary, they might say it is epic, and this adjective fits NorthSpawn well. All those who share this view will be more than happy to hear that event organizers are already working on the second annual NorthSpawn.

About NorthSpawn

NorthSpawn is a unique experience for e-sports and digital enthusiasts. A meeting place for players and programmers, a platform for creating valuable contact areas between business and the skills that grows in the gaming world. Every year, in the heart of Sweden, thousands of people of all ages get to experience Northspawns LAN, Hackathon, E-sports, Expo and interactive activities. Visit www.northspawn.se for more information.

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